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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2005

T C PHY341 • Problems in Modern Physics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
60670 MWF
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
PAI 4.42

Course Description

NB: This course description remains TENTATIVE. Readings and Requirements subject to change. Einsteins Miracle Year: The discoveries and the methods of analysis that are the basis of twentieth century physics have dominated our lives and in many cases set the tone of our intellectual debates. Unfortunately, in most undergraduate university curricula this material is not covered. This omission is usually due to the need to prepare the students in both the requisite classical physics and mathematics. This physics course covers a coherent and correct presentation of the discoveries of modern physics but without the use of sophisticated mathematics. The emphasis in the course will be on the conceptual development of the ideas. We will begin with a general review of several of the basic ideas that are relevant to all of physics, but quickly relate them to discoveries made in the twentieth century, with emphasis on Einsteins papers written during his miracle year of 1905. These papers revolutionized our view of the world, truly launching the modern view of the atomic structure of matter, the unification of space and time, and the quantum nature of light. Threaded throughout the course will be an emphasis on conceptual foundations.

About the Professor Dr. Roy Schwitters, S.W. Richardson Professor of Physics, works in experimental high-energy physics.

Grading Policy

The course has three lectures a week. Each student must also attend one discussion section per week. There is homework every week consisting of assigned problems and take-home laboratories. Some of the problems and all the laboratories deal with general science competency. There are two tests and a final. Students with a weak background in physics from high school are encouraged to take the special section of PHY 309K for Plan II students before enrolling in this course.


Albert Einstein and John Stachel (ed.), Einsteins Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics Richard P. Feynman, QED Thomas A. Moore, A Traveler's Guide to Spacetime John Alan Paulos, Innumeracy


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